"Going to whip his arse bloody?" Philip, lounging on the floor in his trousers with no shirt on. "I'd like to watch that, for once. Make a change from hearing you two at it. Smack, gasp, oh god Ethan, Ethan!"
Randall giggled. "He wanks every time you do it. Don't let him lie."
"I'd like to watch Rupert whip your arse raw."
Ethan's voice was calm, silky-smooth as ever, but Rupert snapped his head around to watch him. Philip seemed not to realize his danger. He knelt up over Randall's prone body and rummaged for the cigarette packet. He lit up and drew deep.
"Rupert," he drawled, "is a woman. Hasn't got the nerve."
Ethan gave him the barest nod, and Rupert snapped into motion. He leapt and landed on Philip and bore him down to the carpet. He pinned Philip on his back, knees on arms, a hand across his windpipe pressing down just hard enough to make the point. Or not hard enough: Philip struggled and Rupert shifted his weight and found the nerve clusters. Philip's face went red.
Ethan leaned down and plucked the cigarette from the floor next to Philip's head. "You'll burn yourself on that," he said, in that deceptively mild voice. "Didn't I tell you when Ripper joined us? He's my bodyguard. He could kill you with his bare hands, couldn't you, Ripper love? Mmm. "
Rupert shifted his weight, and Philip sucked in air again. Rupert watched the panic ebb away from his face. He looked up at Ethan, who made a tiny shrug. Rupert stood up over Philip's body and stepped back until he was just behind Ethan, poised on the balls of his feet.
Philip sat up, hand rubbing at his throat. "You're a shit, Ethan. A sadistic shit."
"Now, now. Behave, or I'll cut you off."
Philip's face changed yet again, and Rupert rocked back onto his heels.